FOR first time in history of the Brettonwoods institutions, women are heading two key positions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as both Managing Director and also Chief Economist. This observers say should give for something in the clamour for euality and gender mainstreaming across board. As if to walk the talk, the new IMF mManaging Director yesterday calls for equality at work places lending her voice to the growing equal work and equal pay movement. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s new Managing Director has also made bold commitments to enforce pay parity at the IMF. “At the end of this meeting, I will sit down with human resources to discuss and review fairness across board,” she said emphatically.
In a one-on-one conversation on Women, Work and Leadership moderated by Ravi Agrawal, Managing Editor of Foreign Policy at the ongoing annual meetings, Georgieva says everyone benefits from gender equality. Tracing her professional journey, she recounted how she used to work harder than her male colleagues as a professor just to earn equal pay, saying “we cannot afford to be gender blind anymore”.
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Beyond the moral argument for equality, the IMF, she says, bring evidence-based approach to the debate and show the economic benefits of gender equality. An IMF study finds that global GDP could be boosted by between 35 and 40 percent if unpaid work is captured in official statistics even as more women entering the labour force will help to attain the SDG’s.
She advocates for legal changes that can enable women achieve their full potential as about 1.7 billion women globally are hindered from fully achieving their potential due to legal constraints such as land ownership. How to achieve this? It will take nothing short of societal transformation to achieve gender parity while not unmindful of the fact that there will be pushbacks from more conservative societies, says Georgieva.
Firm political commitments and messaging from the top, she adds, will help sway public opinion and help more women in such societies get into the labour force.